25 July 2022
Craig King is a father of four and grandfather of eight who loves playing golf and riding his electric bike. He also volunteers for Harbour Hospice as a driver for patients.
He’s the perfect taxi driver - not too chatty, not too quiet. He’ll hold the door open while you settle into your seat then adjust the radio – always tuned into Coast FM – and check you’re warm enough.
Then he’ll create a comfortable little silence so you can begin talking - or say nothing at all.
“Some people will tell me everything. Some tell me nothing,” Craig says. “And, you know, that's up to the individual because when they have a conversation with you, it's allowing them to let go of what they want to let go. Whatever they say, I leave it there in the car because this is their life, and it’s not for me to grab hold of.”
Craig began driving Harbour Hospice patients to medical appointments in 2017, after his wife, Jill, a volunteer of 10 years, came home from North Shore’s Inpatient Unit, where she helps in the kitchen, to tell him Hospice needed more drivers.
“I said I wouldn’t mind helping out,” he says. “It’s nice to be able to help people.”
The North Shore businessman fits his volunteering in around his role as owner and director of C F King Contracting, a brick and block-laying business that he started with two others 48 years ago. He reckons all those years of driving to jobs around the city put him in good stead to know all the shortcuts when traffic is congested.
“I never make a patient sit in traffic,” he says. “There’s always another road you can take.”
In some ways, his role is similar to that of a hairdresser’s or bartender’s, where he gets to hear a lot about people’s lives.
“It is a privilege. But I never ask questions, I just wait for them to come to me.”
We need more volunteer drivers! If you’d like to join the team please click here to email Mandy Campbell or phone 021 527 912.